Although preparing for the priesthood involves lots of studies it is impossible to imagine a future Oblate missionary without a close relationship with Christ. Over the whole year that relationship is nurtured and developed, however every year, like all the other Oblates, our scholastics are given a week of retreat, which is the time of spiritual renewal. Through more intense rhythm of prayer and number of talks given every day over that week, a future missionary develops a listening ear, the ear sensitive to the voice of the Lord.
This year the retreat has taken our scholastics to an old Oblate house in Sorrento, in Mornington Peninsula. It was the first Oblate mission in the east. At the time of the Oblate arrival it was a sleepy, and forgotten by people town. Today, it is a popular tourist destination for many Victorians. Even if the place has lost its old quietness it still offers spectacular views which can direct one’s mind and heart to the goodness of the Lord. Praying in the place which remembers humble beginnings of the Oblates in Victoria, their struggles and many sacrifices they made to establish themselves here in order to serve the people of God, can certainly face our future Oblates with how much they want to sacrifice to continue the mission of those predecessors of theirs, who accepted Sorrento Parish when it was the poorest church in Melbourne. The inconspicuous church in Sorrento is like a shrine for us Oblates. For number of years it was also the house of the Novitiate where the candidates spent the first year after joining the Oblates. I hope that the scholastics can return filled with the spirit of the early Oblate settlers, who were full of passion for spreading the Good News.
Fr Daniel OMI
An Oblate Priest